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Author Notes: One of my favorite comfort foods is this clean non-fussy dish of Spinach Dal. This one goes way back from when I was a kid in India. Every Indian home makes very many kinds of ‘dal’ – a soupy lentil side dish which is a staple of every meal. This Spinach Dal was what my childhood friend Minoo’s mom cooked often. I remember spending long lazy summer afternoons (no tv or computers) at her house with the aroma of the her mother’s cooking wafting through. After a long work day, nothing feels as good as to have a bowl of this dal with rice or roti. Rich in protein and iron, this nutritious dal with the aroma of ghee, is always a standby. —Aditi Goswami
- 1 1/2 cups split yellow pigeon peas (toor dal)
- 6 cups water
- 1 medium tomato, chopped
- 2 teaspoons whole cumin seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon turmeric
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne
- 2 tablespoons oil
- pinches asafoetida, optional
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon "ghee" (clarified butter) optional
- 4 cups chopped spinach
- Cook dal in water with 1 tsp salt and the chopped tomato till soft and mushy. Add more water if it gets dry.
- In a wok or a saucepan, add the oil and heat on high. Add the asafoetida, if using, and the whole cumin seeds to the hot oil till it sizzles and is fragrant, about 5 seconds (careful not to burn the spices).
- Add the spinach and turmeric and cayenne and saute for a few minutes. Add the cooked dal and stir mixture well, adding more water if necessary. Bring to a boil and simmer for 7 mins at a medium simmer. Drizzle a tablespoon ghee on top.
- Serve hot with rice or flat bread.